04 Jul 2008

The Open University joins the BBC in marking 200 years of Charles Darwin’s legacy

Charles Darwin 1808 - 2008

Charles Darwin 1808 - 2008

The Open University is proud to be a partner in a newly announced BBC season marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, and on 24 November 2009, the 150th anniversary of the publication of his groundbreaking book On the Origin of Species, which laid out the theory of evolution by natural selection.

The Open University is co-producing three of the series in the season which cover the impact and legacy of Darwin’s theories and ideas.

Andrew Marr On Darwin's Legacy (working title) is a landmark new 3 x 60 minute series for BBC TWO. Marr will explore the radical impact of Darwin's theory not only in science, but also society, political movements (capitalist, Marxist and fascist) and religion. It will also show how that impact continues today, underpinning much of our modern understanding of human life.

In Darwin’s Garden, another new 3 x 60 minute series for BBC TWO, entomologist and farmer Jimmy Doherty recreates many of Darwin's ground-breaking plant experiments at Down House, the Darwin family home in Kent.

The OU is also co-producing Life, a spectacular 10 x 60 minute, BBC ONE natural history series which captures the most extraordinary and awe-inspiring animal survival behaviours ever shown on TV. Four years in the making, Life is filmed in the most extreme environments across the globe.

Dr Janet Sumner, Presenter, Scientist and Broadcast Learning Executive with The Open University said: "The OU is delighted to co-produce three great and diverse series in the BBC’s Charles Darwin season.

"Darwin is one of the most influential figures of his time and his contribution to science shaped not only his era, but continues to a have a profound effect on modern scientific thinking today.

"We hope the programmes we are co-producing will give the public a greater understanding of Darwin the man, his science and how his theory of evolution has influenced our understanding of life on Earth today."

The Open University and BBC have been in partnership for over 30 years providing educational programming to a mass audience. This partnership has evolved from late night programming for delivering courses to peak time programmes with a broad appeal to encourage wider participation in learning.

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